Common Topics for IELTS Speaking Part 1

The key for success in speaking is to prepare the common topics which the examiner can ask you about in IELTS speaking part 1. You will be asked a total of 3 topic for IELTS speaking part 1. The examiner has a list of subjects to take the questions from so you need to prepare ideas for a range of different topics.

This video tutorial will explain what the common topics are for part 1 and which ones you should focus on for your preparation.

IELTS Speaking Part 1: Common Topics

Hello my name is Liz
in this lesson I’m going to look
at the types of topics
that the examiner could ask you
in IELTS speaking part 1
and at the end of this lesson
I’ll give you a link so that you can
take a look at the topics and questions
for yourself
the examiner will probably ask you
about 12 different questions
in speaking part 1
and these questions come from usually
3 different subjects these are all
familiar and they are topics that
are common to everybody
throughout the world
now the first IELTS speaking part 1 topic of these three
usually come from one of these
work study home and hometown
you will probably get
one of them for your first topic
work or study now if the examiner
decides to ask you about work or study
the first question that
the examiner will ask
is “do you work or do you study”
now the examiner is asking
this question
only because he or she needs
to know which
topic to choose to ask
the questions so with this question
you do not need to expand your answer
you can just say very clearly
“I work” or “I study”
now if you’re a students and
you’ve finished university
but you aren’t not working either
then you need to tell the examiner that
and you need to say “I’ve just finished
university but I don’t have a job yet”
and the examiner will then continue
and ask you about the topic of study. Now with
these topics the common questions
which the examiner could ask you is
where do you study or work
why did you choose that subject or job
the examiner might ask you about
your first day
about the people you that
you work or study with
and other things about your work
or your study
Now for the topic of home
this topic is all about where you live
so it could be about your house
or your apartment
and in that topic
the examiner can ask you
about the rooms in your house
how they are decorated
so what you can see on the walls
or what you kind of views you have
from the windows
the examiner might also ask you
about the people you live with
or the area and street that you live in
And the last topic hometown
now if you get the topic of hometown
this is about the place
where you were born or where you
spent your childhood
and for this topic
the examiner often asks you
about places in your hometown
for example buildings or
old buildings in your hometown
the examiner might ask you
about the weather
or transportation
in your hometown
or if you plan to still live
there in the future
so those are To read more, click here


List of Topics and Questions for Speaking Part 1, click here
IELTS Video Tutorial for speaking part 1 1: What’s your favourite…?, click here

IELTS Writing Task 1: Pie Chart Model Score 9

How to compare two pie charts in IELTS writing task 1. This sample answer illustrates the method of organising the report as well as useful language and sentence structures to get a band score 9. These pie charts were reported in the IELTS test in November, 2017.

The pie charts below show the comparison of different kinds of energy production of France in two years.

ielts pie chart comparison

Pie Chart Sample Answer

The two pie charts illustrate the proportion of five types of energy production in France in 1995 and 2005. 

Overall, in both years, the most significant sources of energy  were gas and coal, which together accounted for over half the production of energy, while nuclear and other kinds of energy sources generated the least amount of energy in France. In all types of energy production there was only minimal change over the 10 year period.

Energy produced by coal comprised of 29.80% in the first year and this showed only a very slight increase of about a mere 1 % to 30.9% in 2005. Likewise, in 1995, gas generated 29.63% which rose marginally to 30.1% 10 years later.

With regards to the remaining methods of producing energy, there was an approximate 5% growth in production from both nuclear power and other sources to 10.10% and 9.10% respectively. Petrol, on the other hand, was the only source of energy which decreased in production from 29.27% in 1995 to around a fifth (19.55%) in 2005.

Pie Chart Tips

  • Always highlight the largest and smallest proportions
  • If there are two pie charts in different time periods, then you must highlight the key changes / trends
  • Use pie chart language – accounts for / comprises of / represents
  • The phrase “Units are measured in …” should be used when the units have not been stated in the previous sentence.

Recommended Lessons

How to describe an IELTS pie chart, click here
IELTS Bar Chart Model Answer
Line Graph Model Answer

See All Writing Task 1 Tips, Model Answers and Video Lessons

IELTS Speaking Part 1: Error Correction

The questions below are taken from various topics in speaking part 1. What problems can you find with the answers?

Can you swim?
I really enjoy swimming. In fact, I swim almost every day in my local pool.

Do you prefer eating at home or eating out?
I go out to restaurants a few times each week with my colleagues from work for lunch.

Have you ever been abroad?
Most holidays I travel to my hometown to see my family but one day I would really like to go to the UK and visit London.

Did you enjoy school when you were a child?
I was very active in school. I joined a lot of clubs and was a member of two sports teams as well. I’m still in touch with my friends from school.


None of the answers above give a direct answer to the question. It is important in IELTS speaking part 1 to give a grammatically correct direct answer to each question. Here is what the answers should have been:

Can you swim?
Yes, I can. I really enjoy swimming. In fact, I swim almost every day in my local pool.

Do you prefer eating at home or eating out?
I usually prefer to eat out. I go out to restaurants a few times each week with my colleagues from work for lunch.

Have you ever been abroad?
No, I haven’t. Most holidays I travel to my hometown to see my family but one day I would really like to go to the UK and visit London.

Did you enjoy school when you were a child?
Yes, I did. I was very active in school. I joined a lot of clubs and was a member of two sports teams as well. I’m still in touch with my friends from school.


IELTS Listening Practice: Table Completion

Table completion is a common type of question in IELTS listening. Spend time preparing the headings and the predicted content of the table. Pay attention to the number of words possible for the answer. This listen exercise is similar level to section 4 of your IELTS test.

Now listen to the recording and write down the answers as you listen. Answers are given below.

Questions 1-5
Write no more than three words for each answer.

Introduced species of the British Isles

  Non-native Animal            Origin               Habitat         Usual Diet      
1. …………………. North America 2. …………. 3. …………..
rainbow trout North America 4. ………… 5. ………….


Islands, such as the British Isles, can be adversely affected by the introduction of non-native species. Many species have been introduced to Britain during historical times. Some species have been introduced with no adverse consequences. However, others have had a severe impact both economically and ecologically.

One good example of an invasive species is the gray squirrel which, at the turn of the 20th century, was introduced into South Africa, Ireland, and England from North America. On mainland Britain, it has almost entirely displaced the populations of native red squirrels. Schemes have been introduced to control the population in Ireland to encourage the native red squirrels. In the wild, gray squirrels can be found living in large areas of mature, dense woodland. These forests usually contain large amounts of dense understory vegetation that provides them sufficient amount of food sources and favorable shelters. On very rare occasions, when their usual food sources are scarce, gray squirrels will eat insects and small birds. However, in general gray squirrels exist mainly on nuts and seeds. They even have a high enough tolerance for humans to inhabit residential neighborhoods and are known to raid bird feeders.
Among those species which have been introduced with little harm to the local ecosystem is the rainbow trout which is native only to the rivers and lakes of North America but its value as a hard-fighting game fish and tasty meal has led to its introduction throughout the world. Rainbow trout are gorgeous fish, with coloring and patterns that vary widely depending on habitat, age, and spawning condition. They are members of the salmon family and, like their salmon cousins, can grow quite large. They prefer cool, clear rivers and lakes and survive on insects and small fish.
Taken and adapted from:,

1. gray squirrel
2. mature dense woodland / dense woodland / woodland / forest
3. seeds and nuts
4. rivers and lakes (lakes rivers)
5. insects and fish / insects small fish


Recommended Lessons

IELTS Listening Practice: Picture Multiple Choice

IELTS Essay Length: Video Lesson Advice

Learn about the recommended number of words you should write for your essay in IELTS writing task 2. You must write over 250 words and if your essay is under the word count. you will be penalised. Watch this lesson to find out what is the best length to aim for in task 2.

Recommended Lessons

IELTS Video: How to write an essay introduction, click here
IELTS Writing Task 2 Video Lesson: Ideas Tips, click here
Model Opinion Essay Band Score 9, click here


hello in this lesson I want to look at a
very important question

that many students ask me about IELTS

writing task 2 here’s the question do I

a higher band score if I have

a longer essay now this is a very
important question

how long should you essay be there are a
number of points I want to explain to


about the length of your essay so

the first point is of course you must

over 250 words that

is the task given to you those are your

and if you write under that

there could be problems and yes the
examiner will check

how many words you’ve written number two
and here is a direct answer

to the question you do not get

more marks for a longer essay now

I know that for many of you at

if you write a longer essay you get
better marks

but this does not apply to IELTS

the examiner is not looking for

a long essay the examiner is looking for

ideas number three the other point

is you only have about 35 minutes to

you essay now they recommend

that you have forty minutes but at least

5 minutes should be spent planning your essay

you need to look at the statement given
to you

need to analyze it and you need to plan

relevant ideas for your answer

it’s very important to have

five minutes for planning your ideas and
you answer

are worth 25% if your marks so
that means

you only have about 35 minutes to

actually write your essay so

aiming for longer essay will not give
you more marks

and will be very difficult in

the time you’ve got the next point

is a lot of students when

they try to extend their writing to

over 300 words they put

lots of extra information in that essay

and this information is often a little

relevant or it’s off the topic

now in IELTS you will lose

marks if you write irrelevant

or if you go off the topic in your essay

so is a very bad idea to try to write

300 words if the information you are

adding will go off topic so

the recommendation I recommend you aim

for between 260 and 280

that is enough words to extend

and develop each main idea

in order to get a higher band score

if you found this lesson useful please
share it with your friends

and don’t forget follow me on Facebook
if you want to get

the regular lessons or check my blog and
you can find

all my free IELTS lessons see you next time

IELTS Speaking Part 1 Model Answers: Topic Walking

Do you often walk?
Not really. I don’t have a lot of spare time so I mostly use my bike to get around.

Did you walk much when you were a child?
Yes, I did. I had to walk to school almost every day as a child, which took me almost 20 minutes.

Do you think people walk more nowadays than they did in the past?
No, definitely not. In the past, there were few forms of transport to choose from so most people walked everywhere whereas these days hardly anyone walks anywhere. Most people have their own private car or bike which they use pretty much every day to get where they’re going and even if they don’t, there is plenty of public transport to use instead.

Recommended Lessons

IELTS Speaking Video Lesson: Part 1 What’s my favourite…?
IELTS Speaking Video Lesson: Greeting the examiner
IELTS Listening Video Practice: Names for Section 1

IELTS Writing Task 2 Video Lesson: Conclusion Linkers

Learn which are the best linkers to use to start your conclusion paragraphs for your IELTS essay. This lesson will show you which linkers to use and which you must avoid. Any mistakes with linkers will lower your band score so make sure you watch this lesson.


How to write an introduction
What to do with the last 5 mins?


hello in this lesson

we’re going to look at the best linkers
to use

to start your conclusion for your IELTS

task 2 essay now I have a list

of linkers on the board and I have seen

students using these linkers for their

academic essay now are they

good to use well I can tell you some

of these linkers are inappropriate

they should not be used for the

in your task 2 essay now

let’s have a look we’ll start off with
this one here

finally now I know your conclusion

is the final paragraph but finally

does not indicate a conclusion

we use this linker to show

the final main point so that means

we use this linker in the last

body paragraph so you have

firstly secondly finally

and after that you have your conclusion

so please do not use this

for your conclusion now another one

let’s have a look at in a nutshell now

in a nutshell the meaning of this
is to summarize all the main points

briefly so the meaning is correct

but this expression

in a nutshell this is informal

and we mainly use this with speaking

or with some informal writing so that

it is wrong to use this kind of linker
with an

academic essay for IELTS it’s something that the

usually notices and it will

be a problem for your band score so

don’t to use in a nutshell for you IELTS

academic essay another one

in general again it does not

really indicate a conclusion

so that leaves 3

linkers we’ve got in conclusion to

to sum up now although

to sum up is OK I

still wouldn’t recommend using if
somebody asked me

for the best linkers to start the

of course I would choose these

now a linker at the beginning

of the paragraph is there help

the reader to help the reader understand

the order of information and to

indicate what the information is so when
I am reading an academic essay

and I see in conclusion or

to conclude I understand this is the

and that is good for an academic

essay so in conclusion

to conclude please choose one of them

to start your conclusion for your task

essay well that’s all for this lesson

I’ll see you again in another IELTS lesson


IELTS Reading Practice: Sentence Completion

An exercise for IELTS Reading Sentence Completion. Read the passage below and then answer the questions.

The War on Smoking

Make no mistake, the move to introduce plain packaging is just the latest front in the war against smoking. Over the past decade, there has been a ban on smoking in public places and moves to restrict displays in shops. But one of the issues that has been concerning health experts and ministers is the number of people who continue to take up smoking, particularly young people.
More than 200,000 under-16’s start in the UK each year – helping ensure a viable market remains for manufacturers once the number of people quitting and dying is taken into account. In countries like the UK where there is a ban on advertising, the pack remains the last major vehicle for promotion. Hence the detail and care taken in the design of the packets with their laminated and special print effects, foil decorations and slide openings and bevelled edges. It should come as no surprise therefore to learn that they have become known as the “silent salesman” and “mobile billboard” within the industry. They are that important. (Passage from here)

Questions 1-4

Complete the sentences. Choose no more than two words and / or a number from the passage for each answer.

  1. …………………… is the most recent strategy to tackle the problem of smoking.
  2. The large number of new smokers, particularly under 16’s, makes certain that cigarette companies will always have a ……………………………….. .
  3. In some countries, packaging is the only method that cigarette companies have for ………………….
  4. Packets are seen as being the ………………………………….. in the cigarette industry.


Click below to reveal the answers.

1. plain packaging
2. viable market
3. promotion
4. silent salesman / mobile billboard (you should choose one answer. If you put both, it is an incorrect answer

All reading exercises on have been written by myself to help you prepare for your IELTS test.   


  • the latest front = the most recent development
  • to establish = to introduce
  • makes certain = helps ensure
  • only method of = the last vehicle for
  • edge = side
  • are seen as being = have become known as
  • come as no surprise = be expected